Mariah Gaines (Junior)
Changes to a wide array of previous Obama protocols and rules resulted in a somewhat rocky start to the 2022-23 school year. One particular change involved a new approach to the process of creating student schedules. The most notable consequence of this adjustment was the fact it took a matter of hours into the first day of school before the Obama counselors were drowning in student requests for schedule corrections. To get a clearer understanding on the matter, The Eagle Times sat down with the high school and middle school counselors, Ms. Smith and Dr. Hanner to discuss what went wrong.
When asked, Ms. Smith said in an ideal world the creation of schedules would start in the spring or even before. That unfortunately didn’t happen this past year. Ms. Smith explained this complicated process in detail but here it is in short: teachers submit their preferences for what classes they want to teach, then the administration has to determine who can teach what by contract, then a team of teachers creates what Ms. Smith called a “Master Schedule.” This schedule contains class sections as well as suggested periods. While in theory this should all work out, unexpected problems arose when something new came into play.
This year, a computer program called ESchools was introduced. It was designed to generate specialized schedules that fit inputted parameters. Issues came about when the program and the master schedule did not work in tandem as hoped. Because the master schedule took into account personalized preferences, the computer program wasn’t able to work as intended. As a result, said team of teachers and counselors were having to work overtime to fix the things that fell through and/or didn’t line up in the generated schedules. It is important to note that initial efforts at corrective action began just a week before school started.
Further, alterations had to be made to both middle school and high school schedules. Dr. Hanner explained that the middle school schedules were actually more messed up than the high school
ones but because they don’t require taking IB courses or graduation credits into account, they are simpler to fix. Understandably, it took more than just one week to get this all ironed out.
Entire new elective sections had to be made and kids were shifted all around in efforts to even out class sizes. This is why students got their schedules so late and why so many of us weren’t in the right classes to start the year. When asked if this year was truly that much worse in terms of number of students asking for schedule corrections, both counselors answered with a resounding ‘yes’.
Ms. Smith thinks that if ESchools is used properly, it will be very helpful in the future scheduling process. She then added that one of Obama’s new vice principlals, Mr. Clawson, has prior ESchools experience and hopes to start making next year’s class schedules as early as this winter. Everyone involved acknowledges the impact these errors had on students this year and are committed to avoiding this problem going forward.